When dreaming up my ultimate Back to school ideas for teachers guide, I divided it into five different categories to help me stay organized. After reading this post, you might want to check out this back to school check list for even more ideas.
- First week activities
- Math activities
- Bulletin board ideas
- Back to school organization
- New pedagogy or classroom management strategies
First week activities
When planning my Back To School activities for elementary school, I stick to the same tried and true formula year after year. I know I need to teach my students collaboration strategies, so we play fun interactive games. I want my class to get to know one another, so we play ice breaker games. It’s important to assess the students’ understanding of last year’s lessons. And I’d like to teach them any other strategies that may be new to them, so I use Back To School project based learning activities. Without further ado, I hope you enjoy these first week activities for school. Click to read more about my strategy for math back to school activities.
When planning my Back To School first week’s lessons, I plan using the following list:
What are the most important things for me to accomplish with my math activities in the first few weeks of school?
- Teach the students my collaboration strategies
- Assess the students understanding of previous lessons
- Ice breaker activities
It’s the first week of school. Your students will DEFINITELY need the refresher course in Manners 101. “Do I have to sit next to (____)?” Teach your students collaboration strategies through math lessons. Use math activities like flash card games to learn to work together. In this math mystery game, students work together to answer the math problems to solve the mystery of who stole the burger. Set the clues up around the room and demonstrate how rotations work in your class at the same time! Want this activity free? Sign up for my newsletter (you can find the form below this picture) to receive a 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade version all free! Click here to read more math activities for back to school.
Bulletin Board ideas
Do you have a classroom theme? Do you need “I can” statements? Check out the bulletin board ideas for back to school for more ideas.
Back to school organization
I ALWAYS group my students in small groups. Student collaboration is vital to everyone’s success. Get a list of your students prior to Back To School, and group them together based on their skill level. I try to have one high student, one medium high, one medium low, and one low student at every group. Group the desks together where the students are all able to properly see the front of the classroom. If you have students who have vision or disciplinary issues, you will want to sit them at the front of the class.
Back to school ideas for teachers 101: This is the year to KonMari your classroom. Go through all of your cabinets and build a large pile. So what do you use? And what don’t you use? What sparks joy? I hoard SO many items thinking “I’ll use these eventually.” After three years of teaching the same grade, why was I still holding onto something I never used once?! Let’s assume you’re like me, and you need to LET GO. Give the items to a new teacher, or donate them to a homeless shelter that has children. Your new clean space will thank you for it.
Classroom supplies organization can ALSO be environmentally friendly. I promote recycling in the classroom. During the summer I set up a water bottle station for students to keep their reusable water bottles all year long. Create an area like a cubby station for your students to keep their water bottles. Make sure to label them with student names, so they know which water bottle is which! I don’t allow water on the desks during class due to too many spills, so the students are able to walk back to the water station and get water year round. Click here for more organization tips for Back To School.
New pedagogy or classroom management strategies
The new school year is THE BEST TIME FOR CHANGE. Try something new, and continue to grow as a teacher. If you are implementing a new type of learning experience such as Project Based Learning or Genius Hour, this is your perfect time to get ready.
Start thinking out your lessons using your new pedagogy or classroom management strategies. Plan ahead, do your research, and dive right in. If things are messy in the first few weeks IT’S OKAY. As teachers we need to use growth mindset. If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried something new.